Women Prisoners and Diabetes in the US: Incorporating Human Rights Paradigms to Advocate for Health Provision Reform in Correctional Settings

By Kelsey Wright.

Published by The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

One of the primary functions of the incorporation of human rights paradigms into the field of public health is to advance the provision of care for underserved populations who may suffer from stigma, socioeconomic disadvantages, or other factors that contribute to health disparities. Incarcerates in United States prisons or jails are a severely underserviced population—provision of healthcare for inmates rarely meets international human rights standards, especially in regards to female prisoners who constitute a minority of incarcerates with unique and unmet health needs. Lack of adequate healthcare in the US penitentiary system may be due to the fact that federal and state prisons are ubiquitously under-funded and that they house a population which is stigmatized for its criminal status (Lewis, 2006).

The National Commission on Correctional Health Care has set quality standards in correctional facilities, but inmates in these facilities are generally excluded from community efforts to improve health outcomes, are excluded from nationally based health surveys, and frequently participate in below standard healthcare systems. All of these factors prevent people in correctional facilities from experiencing the benefits of scientific knowledge and from participating as healthy members of societies upon exit from institutions (Binswanger, 2009).

Keywords: Human Rights, Prison Health, Women’s Health, Diabetes, Chronic Disease Advocacy, Incarceration Health, Women Prisoners

The International Journal of Health, Wellness and Society, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.71-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.000MB).

Kelsey Wright

MSPH Candidate, International Health Department, Health Systems, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD, USA

Ms. Wright is currently a MSPH candidate in Health Systems in the Department of International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has worked previously in a variety of health related contexts, including maternal mortality research in Kumasi, Ghana, and in society and health related research. Her academic and professional interests are centered on how to translate global human rights frameworks into on-the-ground, rights based programs, in health and social justice, and on the intersection between gender, health, and human rights.